England have only had about 10 minutes of solid play against Ukraine in the first half of their Group D finale, but they weathered the early storm in Donetsk and succeeded in making the game a dull one in the final 15 minutes of the half. The Three Lions only need a draw to progress to the quarterfinals and in true Roy Hodgson fashion, they're playing for it. It's 0-0 after 45 minutes of play.
The first 20 minutes were completely dominated by Ukraine, and only some very good play from Joleon Lescott and John Terry kept England from conceding. Ukraine's decision to introduce Marko Devic and Denys Harmash has been a good one, with both players looking very lively. England has struggled with Ukraine's wingers as well, but their central defense pair have kept Ukraine from creating anything too dangerous.
Oleh Husyev came closest for Ukraine, hitting a laser of a strike just a few inches over the bar in the 22nd minute. Ashley Young gifted him the chance by completely misjudging a diagonal ball, allowing it to go over his head and right to Husyev. He came forward and unleashed a fierce shot, but couldn't hit the target.
England's best chance came six minutes later, with Young doing a bit to atone for his error with a great cross to Wayne Rooney, but the Manchester United forward looked very much like a player who had to sit out two games with his miss. He had a free header, but mistimed his jump and inexplicably missed wide at the near post.
Andriy Yarmolenko had a decent shot at the end of a pretty passing move in the 30th minute, and that would be the last truly great chance of the half. Both teams got the ball into the opposition penalty area for some half chances in the final 15 minutes, but neither defense truly looked phased. England succeeded in slowing things down at the end of the half, but hopefully for the neutrals, Hodgson's tactics for the second half are a bit different. This has the potential to turn exciting, but more potential to get very dull.
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